Daniel P. O'Connor, PhD

Professor & Department Chair

Health and Human Performance

Faculty Senate President-Elect, 2017

University of Houston

3855 Holman St, GAR 104

Houston, TX 77204-6015



Facebook: @DanOConnorPhD

Twitter: @DanOConnorPhD


Curriculum Vitae

PubMed Bibliography

Google Scholar Profile


Interdisciplinary Health Research

The most important scientific questions about health and wellness cannot be investigated adequately by a single discipline or academic department. I have collaborated on research studies, scientific articles, presentations, grants, and proposals with more than 100 investigators from many different institutions, scientific disciplines, and health professions. See my PubMed or Google Scholar profiles to see the scope of work and collaborators.

Specific areas of interest:

·        Evaluating and explaining individual variation in health outcomes and health-related quality of life.

·        Contextual effects: how characteristics of the social and physical environments and systems affect health.

·        Physical activity, exercise, anthropometry, obesity, surgery & rehabilitation outcomes, health and wellness, quality of life.


O’Connor Group

·        Mitzi Laughlin, PhD: Research Assistant Professor

·        Dana Ortega, MS: Project Manager

Doctoral Students:

·        Che-young (Christine) Lee: Evaluating and explaining causes and prevention of obesity, investigating individual response variability to genetics, physiological factors, and physical activity.

·        Nate Parker (co-advising with Rebecca E. Lee, PhD): Environmental influences on physical activity and designing physical activity promotion programs.

·        Xue Zhao: Focus on evaluating physical performance and health outcomes, and promoting physical activity and obesity control.

I also serve on dissertation committees for PhD students from other departments at UH and other universities and work with orthopedic surgery residents and fellows from the University of Texas Medical School–Houston.


Current Externally Funded Research Projects

As Principal Investigator I have been awarded $8.4 million in external funding since 2007 (7 awards), and I have participated as a co-investigator in research funded by an additional $6.4 million in external awards (16 awards) in that time. Sponsoring agencies have included CDC, NASA, NIH, U.S. Department of Education, and private and public foundations.

Current active projects include:

United Health Foundation

·        Principal Investigator: A Community Collaborative for Preventing and Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities in Houston. January 2017 - December 2020. (co-Principal Investigator Ezemenari M. Obasi)

Joe W. King Orthopedic Institute

·        Principal Investigator: Clinical and Translational Methods and Outcomes in Orthopedic Surgery (Renewal 2). December 2014 - November 2017 (this project has been continuously funded since 2007). (co-Principal Investigator Mitzi Laughlin)

National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Cancer Institute (NCI)

·        Co-Investigator: CMV Infection and NK-Cell Therapy for Multiple Myeloma. October 2016 to September 2017. (Principal Investigator Richard Simpson).

Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)

·        Co-Investigator: Taking Texas: Statewide Dissemination of the Taking Texas Tobacco Free Workplace Program. August 2016 to November 2017. (Principal Investigator Lorraine Reitzel).

American Heart Association (AHA)

·        Co-Investigator: Elucidating the relationship between cortical hemodynamics and mild cognitive impairment in adults with Type II Diabetes. January 2016 to December 2017. (Principal Investigator Stacey Gorniak). 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

·        Biostatistician: Air Barrier System for the Prevention of Prosthesis-related Infections (SBIR Phase IIb). August 2010 to July 2017. (Principal Investigator Sean Self)


Research Center Affiliations

Fellow, Helping Everyone Achieve A Lifetime of Health (HEALTH) Research Institute

Laboratory of Integrated Physiology

Texas Obesity Research Center


 Get moving!”

       —Andrew S. “Tony” Jackson